Pesticide use has certainly contributed towards improving agricultural production, in terms of both yield and quantity, thus increasing agricultural income, particularly in developing countries like Uganda. However, careless use of these pesticides without adhering to the safety norms and recommended practices has posed serious some health risks to humans, land and aquatic organisms, and the environment from on-farm workers’ exposure and the release of these chemicals into the air. Pesticide residues also have raised food safety concerns among domestic consumers and continue to pose trade impediments for export crops. This has caused a risk to the well being of rural families, the economy of traders and governments, and to food security worldwide.
In recent years however, there has been an increased demand for the creation of biopesticides which are effective and eco-friendly. Some of the advantages associated with the use of some biopesticides may be: (1) inherently less harmful, (2) affect only target pests, (3) effective in small quantities, (4) decompose quickly, (5) greatly reduce the use of conventional pesticides when used as a component of Integrated Pest Management Programs (IPM), (6) mass production for low cost and (7) less prone to resistance among others.
My idea: Knowing very well that crop protection has been developed for the prevention and control of both pre-harvest and post-harvest losses due to crop pests, I thought of a simple, sustainable and possibly more effective idea of managing crop pests. This is about the use of rabbit urine as a biopesticide. In Uganda and Kenya, farmers are using rabbit urine to control pests. However, its properties as a pest control agent have not been exploited in plant protection. Some farmers mix rabbit urine with molasses, effective micro organisms and ash . To them, these combinations have proved effective and cheaper than synthetic pesticides. Furthermore, research on the isolation of allelochemicals and it’s mode of action whether mixed or not, and further field trials on bio-efficacy against economically important pests attacking agricultural crops are needed. This should be followed with the formulation of an effective rabbit urine biopesticide.
Target groups: My idea is aiming at benefiting all farmers but most importantly those that have and will embrace organic farming. Being a youth leader, I intend to work with the youth especially in making sure that they take a center stage in developing this product and at the same time engage in agricultural production.
The steps that need to be followed in formulating the rabbit urine biopesticide include the following;
- Setting up a team that will include a botanist, an entomologist, a formulation chemist and an agricultural engineer.
- Data collection on how farmers are using rabbit urine in controlling crop pests.
- Formulation of the rabbit urine biopesticide.
- Laboratory tests and field trials on economically important pests.
- Setting up a demonstration center to train farmers with the formulation and the use of the developed biopesticide if the product proves its applicability.
Major stakeholders: These will include farmer associations, youth groups, government institutions, private sectors, universities and research institutions.
Project outcomes: These will include the following;
- Decreased reliance on conventional pesticides.
- Formulation of an ecofriendly biopesticide.
- Putting in place quality parameters on the use of the formulated product.
Positive social impacts
- The youth will take a center stage in the implementation and together with the farmers acquire skills to engage in production and the trade of the biopesticide.
- In the long run, improved well being of farmers, traders and government economies.
Orishaba Paul, Uganda